I was invited to speak at the worlds biggest online conference for Luminary Learning, a company that works with some of the biggest organisations in the world – 18 speakers, 17 hours. (They are doing a bigger one in October and I’m speaking at that too!)
And in the lead up to the big day I had meetings with the team to see if I would fit. I was keen for this to happen because I’m not your usual conference speaker and I didn’t want to stand out (for all the wrong reasons) like the proverbially sore thumb!
I rarely have slides (unless the hosts really want them) and I don’t’ usually follow a set script. Choosing instead to find out what they want for their audiences and what they want the result to be. In that way I will create a mass group coaching style session that is really powerful and ensures people get personalised solutions rather than generic ideas.
As I chatted with the hosts, I ended up showing them my Disney mug of coffee, my tiny dog and even my Olaf Keyring… such a grown up. They loved my honest, fun style and said that with my exceptional knowledge on growing businesses and people I’d be perfect.
So all good right?
Except when you don’t see your audience whether you are a speaker, professional or a business leader it can be tough.
Usually body language gives us massive clues on this. The crossed arms changing to hand at face in deep thought is always a good one to aim for. Along with obviously the laughter and relaxed poses.
So with our world moving to online can you deliver to the same high standard?
Yes of course but watch out for the confidence levels.
As the day of the big event got closer, I found myself writing copious amount of notes on the subject of leadership and building great people. You know, the subject I spend my life coaching people and teams on!
How ridiculous I found myself thinking you know this stuff inside out. “Why are you writing it down?” “Why are you adding stats that you could recite in your sleep!” I shrieked at myself. “Are you likely to lose your mind between now and Saturday!”
It was a dip in confidence. Not to be confused with a sensible level of nerves because you want to do well. One is good for your performance, the other can destroy it. (If you aren’t sure pick up a copy of Fight the fear where I help you reduce your fears to a sensible level often getting rid of them all together but being mindful that sometimes a little nerves is good for you.)
So I did what any good coach would do and I talked to another coach. Me and Gordon Tredgold have been proverbially kicking each other’s butts for years. In fact it’s thanks to him I’ve achieved more and I know I’ve been able to help Gordon too. (I love relationships that are win win like that. I highly recommend Gordon’s books, and yes you guessed it Gordon highly recommends mine too!)
So I messaged Gordon. Something along the lines of “Hey Gordon, I’ve got the major wobbles about Saturday. I know I can do this with bells on but still….”
Gordon replied with the right words as we usually do for each other, but when you are bordering on a dip in confidence that can induce fear (and trust me as author of Fight the fear I know this stuff (again inside out!) if you don’t fix the confidence then fear is only a step away.) So despite the fact I believed Gordon and if Gordon Tredgold tells you, you are an awesome speaker, then you are an awesome speaker I still was feeling concerned at a level I didn’t want to take to the event.
“Where is your evidence Mandie?” I asked. “Have you got on a stage before and tanked it?”
“Have you let an audience or hosts down?”
“Er again, I’m going to have to say No”
“Have you made audiences laugh and learn and have eureka moments that changed lives and business?”
At this stage I was beginning to hate myself just like my clients do when they are faced with the facts that they don’t suck and they are awesome! I knew how my coaching clients felt under my scrutiny and it wasn’t easy to accept but accept it I did. I’m good at my job.
I wanted to share this with you because people often say “You are so confident I bet you never doubt yourself” As a human we all do it, the difference is as a coach I can get myself back into a great mindset and get the results I want because I coach myself and control what is allowed to go on inside my brain. Hence the new book Taking control of your mind is so popular because it helps you do just that.
And just so I don’t let that dip in confidence come back I printed off the amazing words that one of the team sent to me.
If you want to stay positive it’s important you give yourself visual clues so you don’t revert to negative and stay there because that’s not good for you, your team or your business. And remember people like to be with positive people. People that inspire and motivate them. Those people make tough days and obstacles to success so much easier to overcome.
If you would like to know more about any aspect of this feel free to get in touch and if this made you rethink what you allow to happen in your head a donation on the button on the right would be appreciated, thank you.
I can also request white labelled copies of Fight the fear for your company – minimum order 100 copies.
Recenly I spoke for one of the worlds largest employers about the basics of successful social media. I don’t claim to be an expert however I know how to utilise it to grow and sustain my own business and my clients.
We also explore the foundations that every business needs to understand and abide by to ensure sustainability, growth and respecting your own personal and professional values and beliefs.
Here are the 2 worksheets I suggested as guidelines too. You are welcome to download a copy.